How to Put On Safe Events During a Pandemic

BY Jesi Bolandrina

06 Mar, 2020

How to Put On Safe Events During a Pandemic

BY Jesi Bolandrina

If you walk into your local pharmacy today, you’ll be lucky if you see any surgical masks or hand sanitizer sitting on the shelves. As the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread, fear and panic has started to guide what we buy and where we go. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the coronavirus outbreak became a “public health emergency of international concern” on January 30, 2020 and now countless large events and conferences are faced with the choice to continue with their event, move to a digital platform, or cancel completely amidst public discomfort. woman feeling sick
With sites like popping up left and right, your attendees will want to know what to expect for your event, regardless of its size. You can host your event during this time of fear and panic by taking the following steps and communicating the precautions you’re taking to your attendees.

What is happening and why is it hurting events?

According to IBIS World, the US Tradeshow and Conference Planning Industry had an estimated total revenue of $16 billion in 2019. With many large conferences bringing in attendees internationally (or domestic travelers who may have traveled abroad in recent months), the fear of encountering someone carrying the coronavirus is causing attendees and vendors alike to withdraw from attending.
There have been over 200 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, which has resulted in over $666 million of dollars in loss in the event industry. According to Vox, that figure only represents losses to airlines, hotels, restaurants and transportation – it does not include the cost to the event organizers and businesses themselves. Among the US cancellations are 2020 Global Health Conference & Exhibition, The Ultra Musical Festival, the Facebook Global Marketing Summit, Microsoft’s MVP Summit and more with event cancellations all the way through the end of May 2020. Some shows are being fully canceled, while others are opting to postpone or continue through an online-only platform.

What does that mean for my event?

“As concerning as the threat of a pandemic is, the actual risk of contracting COVID-19 is still low, and by taking preventative measures, we can still continue to live and work as normal,” states Lauren Kurkul, Vice President of Marketing at Jobble. “We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation as the wellbeing of our Jobblers and business partners is our top priority. We recommend our Jobblers and business partners follow the guidelines posted by the Center for Disease Control.”
Both the World Health Organization and the CDC agree on these best preventative measures:

  1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs
  2. Maintain a three-foot distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue if you cough or sneeze
  5. Immediately seek medical care if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing

In addition to those steps, we have our own advice for event planners and hosts.

Be thoughtful of the community you are hosting your event in by using local staffing opportunities (like Jobble)  in lieu of bringing remote talent from your company’s  headquarters. Not only does that minimize the risk of exposure for your employees by limiting travel, but also lessens the risk of exposure to the event community. 

Additionally, the CDC has published a guide titled, “Get Your Mass Gatherings Or Large Community Events Ready for Coronavirus Disease” and they advise you to:

  1. Review the emergency operations plans with your venue
  2. Promote the daily practice of everyday preventive actions by providing sinks with soap, hand sanitizers and tissues
  3. Promote messages that discourage people who are sick from attending events
  4. Develop flexible refund policies for participants

Unless your event is in an area identified as vulnerable to an outbreak, you can still host your event successfully and safely. 

Have a question? Get in touch with our VP of Marketing, Lauren Kurkul at

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